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Riffs: Does George Michael's life of crime affect his music? Let's find out!

george michaelYou gotta have faith. (Photo by MJ Kim/Getty Images)

By Allison Stewart

The arrests. The trolling for sex in public parks. By now it's pretty clear: George Michael's issues go well beyond his fondness for smoking more pot than Mischa Barton, James Franco and the Insane Clown Posse combined.

"People want to see me as tragic," Michael told British newspaper the Guardian last year. "I think it removes people's envy to see your weaknesses. I don't even see them as weaknesses any more. It's just who I am."

We long for the day when Michael's name won't appear with the words "found slumped behind the wheel" next to it. In the meantime, we wondered: Do Michael's arrests have any bearing on the music he makes? The answer: Kind of!

Michael hasn't released an album of new material since 2004 so it's hard to tell, but we compared his arrest record with his actual records, and came up with the following:

The incident: In '98, Michael is arrested in a public bathroom in a park in Beverly Hills, charged with "engaging in a lewd act" with a male undercover officer.

The legal aftermath: Michael pays a fine, does 80 hours of community service.

The musical aftermath: Michael releases "Outside," a song about getting busy outside (sample lyric: "I'd service the community/But I already have"). The video features Michael in a bathroom-turned-disco, dressed as a cop.

The incident: In February 2006, Michael is found slumped over the wheel of his car in London, and is taken into custody for possession of a "Class C" substance (in England, those include pot and painkillers).

The legal aftermath: He's cautioned by police.

The musical aftermath: Michael tells reporters, "I won't make a record out of this one, even though it is tempting."

(More of Michael's one-man crime wave, after the jump)

The incident: In October 2006, Michael is found slumped over the wheel of his Mercedes in Cricklewood, London. Pot is found in the car.

The legal aftermath: 100 hours of community service, banned from driving for two years.

The musical aftermath: The next month, Michael releases the greatest hits package "Twenty Five," with the new track "An Easier Affair." Sample lyric: "Better believe I'm gonna get what’s mine/See I don’t have the time/For the haters."

The incident: In August 2009, Michael is arrested for impaired driving after smashing his Range Rover into the back of a truck on a British highway.

The legal aftermath:No charges are filed.

The musical aftermath: Michael releases a Christmas single, "December Song." Sample lyric: "Maybe since you’ve gone/I went a little crazy."

The incident: Michael crashes a Range Rover into the Snappy Snaps photo shop in Hampstead, England. Charged with pot possession and driving under the influence.

The legal aftermath: He's due in court August 24th, and could face jail time, though it's likely to be Lindsay Lohan-type jail time, not actual, serious jail time.

The musical aftermath: To be determined.

By Allison Stewart  |  August 13, 2010; 1:30 PM ET
Categories:  Riffs  | Tags: George Michael  
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Some artists do work better when they are anguished, as seems the case.

What I find interesting is the following:
1) Most pop/rock stars have had drug problems at one time or another, but one hardly hears about them. However, when is related to Mr GM, is always a big splash!
2) We all know persons, who do not use drugs but are absent-minded, that are accident prone. When the accident involves Mr GM is always drugs and never lack of or poor attention.
3) Mr GM “kisses a store front with his jeep” (we all saw the pictures, hardly a dent), and immediately “he could have killed someone”. Yeah, someone who was waiting for film developing at 3:00 AM!
4) Every time that Mr GM is involved with something unpleasant, there comes the full roll of his dealings with the law. [In this article it is actually pertinent, but most times it his not.] I always thought, having been taught about fairness, that when someone pays for his/hers bad luck/mistake/crime IN ACCORDANCE WITH WAS PRESCRIBED BY THE LAW, that that person is redeemed and has the right of a clean sheet. Doing otherwise or bringing about past problems is not only unkind, it’s also a sign of poor breeding.
5) We all know that Mr GM is in possession at all times, since he is the first one to admit to smoke 8 joints a day; therefore it is not understandable why this information is such big news.
6) I would love to know what happen to all those persons (millions, all over the world) from the Flower/Power generation, and the weekend joint smokers of the 70s, 80s and 90s. Do you think they all died or do they all became pompous anti-drug “passivists” (≠ activists)? Why are they not all shouting the differences about different drugs and it “impairedness” – after all hashish is very different from cocaine or crack or ecstasy!

I think we should all get solidarity bumper stickers saying: “GrindrIng and Driving at the same time may be hazardous to your life, George Michael”.
I wish him all the best, or whatever his heart desire.

I also think that it is hard time for Journalism to go back to be a serious activity practiced by honest persons, and not the Tit/Ass/Unsupported bad news business that it is today.
[I reiterate that I think your article pertinent, and with an interesting angle.]

Posted by: anamarques67 | August 14, 2010 8:08 AM | Report abuse

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